Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

11 February 2010

Growing up

It's funny how you can tell what season of life you're in by where hair is disappearing... and where it's growing. There was a time that the prospects of "hair where there was no hair" was titillating. Good things were sure to come the way of a man as hairy as I. But the ears & nose hair season of life is far less exciting. So is the suddenly aggressive pursuit of the dreaded "M" shape of male pattern baldness. Guess I've had a good run.

The body ages poorly. Try as you might... It will never feel or look as good as it used to. But an aged spirit and soul is a very fine thing. I think there is an immaturity in the constant pursuit of youth. Growth requires change, and change requires a measure of death to young things.

1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

As a teenager, I remember reading JD Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye." Truthfully it was mostly because in WP Kinsella's "Shoeless Joe"... the voice sent Ray Kinsella to try and take Salinger to a baseball game. I was fascinated with the extreme reclusiveness of Salinger and wanted to read this lauded, coming of age book with curse words, that thrust him into the spotlight he so loathed.

Catcher in the Rye is an engrossing book. It absolutely draws you into the life of Holden Caulfield like the Millenium Falcon caught in the Death Star's tractor beam. But once I got in... I found that I really didn't like Holden Caulfield very much. He seemed to be the personification of many things about being young that I didn't like. We shared a detest for the "phonies" in life that made me not want to participate in "the system" either. He was almost Gen X before it existed. We should have gotten along. I DID feel many of the things that he felt... but I remember thinking that being inside his world was bleak, depressing and pretty darn hopeless. I didn't like the company. I knew that, even if didn't know how I'd do it differently, how Caulfied played out life solved nothing. It just made it worse. The writing style and the book itself is undoubtedly a masterpiece. JD Salinger died not that long ago after many strange years of life.

Donald Miller wrote a blog about a week ago about Catcher in the Rye. He was surprised that only a few people caught that while writing HIS masterpiece "Blue Like Jazz", he was repeatedly reading Catcher. He wrote "Don" in that style, and with a very Caulfield flavor. But I find what Miller writes at the end of his blog EXTREMELY interesting.

"I actually find the book annoying now. Perhaps because I’ve read it so many times, or because I’ve grown up a bit. I had to read Blue for the audio version a few years ago, and I felt the same way when I read it aloud as I do now reading Catch. I wanted the writer to grow up, to stop hiding behind cynicism, and to get over his superiority complex."
Don Miller

Zing. See this is growing up. Not being afraid to burn down and "die to" what we used to be in name of being moved (as the Bible says) from glory to glory. Caulfield and Miller in both of their books, scratched anxiety itches of those in the throes of a life-era very successfully. It's a part of the process. And that's good.

But we can't make the mistake of...

  1. Stopping at youth and shunning moves to mature
  2. Thinking that what we think now is THE answer

Those lead to (as Miller pointed out) adult immaturity and superiority complexes. Neither are becoming on a mid 30's balding man with ear hair in his big right ear.

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